The SPOGreatMusic Performance Series: S41E08

Release Date: January 15, 2021

On this eighth episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 41, 2020/2021), we’re pleased to present the following videos:


Maurice Ravel’s “Le Gibet” from “Gaspard de la Nuit”

“Gaspard de la Nuit” (subtitled Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand), M. 55 is a suite of piano pieces written in 1908. It has three movements, each based on a poem or fantaisie from the collection “Gaspard de la Nuit – Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot” completed in 1836 by Aloysius Bertrand. The work was premiered in Paris, on January 9, 1909, by Ricardo Viñes.

The piece is famous for its difficulty, partly because Ravel intended the Scarbo movement to be more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey. Because of its technical challenges and profound musical structure, Scarbo is considered one of the most difficult solo piano pieces in the standard repertoire. Mr. Panizza performs this challenging work with the fluidity of water, which he incorporated in this video, which he also made. Alexander has performed around the world and has a most wonderful touch, artistry, and interpretation in each performance. His smoothness and ease on the keys is most impressive.


Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D minor, Op. 44 – Movement 1

Performed by the Winds of the SPO. “Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D minor” (Czech: “Serenáda pro dechové nástroje d moll”), Op. 44, B. 77, is a chamber composition dedicated to the music critic and composer, Louis Ehlert, who praised the Slavonic Dances highly in the German press. It was created in 1878, shortly after the premiere of the opera, “The Cunning Peasant” and is one of fifteen compositions he submitted for the Austrian State Stipendium Award. The work was first heard on November 17, 1878, at a concert exclusively dedicated to Dvořák’s works, with the orchestra of the Prague Provisional Theatre (Czech: Prozatímní). The composition was performed under the composer’s baton. The Serenade evokes the old-world atmosphere of musical performances on the castles of the Rococo period, where the worlds of the aristocracy and the common folk merged. It is composed in a ‘Slavonic’ style (shortly before the Slavonic Dances), though not quoting folksong directly; and the middle part of the second movement contains rhythms reminiscent of the furiant dance. This fantastic performance was recorded by John S. Gray at St. Dunstan of Canterbury Anglican Church in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

Oboe: Gillian Howard, Elizabeth Brown | Clarinet: Kaye Royer, Joshua Zung | Bassoon: Larkin Hinder, Patrick Headley | Contra Bassoon: Graham Martin | Horn: Andrew MacDonald, Elizabeth Fava, Beth Curley | Cello: Samuel Bisson | Double Bass: Conor Crone

Video created by: Devin Scott


“Pistol Shrimp” – Animated Short Film

Derek Spencer, filmmaker and animator; Massimo Guida, new 2020 music score and performance. This animated short film is very much a spaghetti western under the sea.
A shrimp bank robber is public anenome #1 and comes face to face with the law. Who will win? Find out and have a whale of a time in the discovery. Created by a graduate of the Sheridan College Animation program and featuring newly composed music. For more information on the Sheridan College Animation program, visit


“Ontario Sketches: Land of The Silver Birch” Scrolling Score

Arranged by Bruno Degazio. The main musical theme of “Land of the Silver Birch” is of course the well-known campfire song of that name. This song is of unusual interest precisely because it is true “folk music” – music that has sprung up anonymously from the people themselves; from the unconscious land, without known author or composer. It is a remarkable musical phenomenon – a melody of unknown origin, but known by every Ontario schoolchild, which seems to have always been present, but is timeless and without history.

The music begins by depicting, misterioso, the primeval forest in the time before human occupation. Thematic fragments of the Silver Birch melody struggle to form themselves into something greater. This leads to a musical depiction of Turtle Island and the Awenda (world) Marsh on its back, and its wildlife, including the White Throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Black Capped Chickadee, Canada Goose and of course the Common Loon. Soon the first people arrive – the Ojibway – and the civilizing effect of human culture is heard in their Paddling Song, a sort of hunter’s love song to his canoe, and his life. The arrival of European explorers is depicted by a return of the Silver Birch melody, but this time with a suggestion of the cultural catastrophe brought on the aboriginal inhabitants by their arrival.


J. S. Bach’s “Minuets” from Suite No. 1

We are honoured to present this performance of J. S. Bach’s Minuets from Suite No. 1, performed by an extremely talented young cellist, Ellamay Mantie. Ellamay has wonderful intonation, expressive bowing, and lovely vibrato.


Performer and Composer Bios


ALEXANDER PANIZZA: Acclaimed by the specialized press, respected by his peers and winner of many prizes, Alexander Panizza (Canada-Argentina) has received numerous awards as an outstanding pianist. His extraordinary command of piano sonority, including intensity and nuance, his brilliant virtuosity, the vastness and variety of his repertoire and his ductility for working in chamber groups, with singers or with orchestra, makes him a sought after musician. Having received an international education, his career develops between the Americas and Europe. You can enjoy many more music video performances by Alexander on his YouTube channel here. You can also learn more on his: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Spotify.


MASSIMO GUIDA Bmus. Hons., Mmus., D.M.A.: Toronto-based Italian-Canadian composer, theorist, educator, and copyist Massimo Guida was born in Modena, Italy, in 1990, and has lived in Canada since 2008. He completed his doctoral studies in composition at the University of Toronto in 2019, under the supervision of Professor Christos Hatzis. He previously also completed his undergraduate and Master’s studies in composition at the same institution, studying composition under Professors Norbert Palej, Alexander Rapoport, Chan Ka Nin, and Gary Kulesha, as well as classical guitar with Eli Kassner. Described as a composer who writes with “a particularly strong melodic inspiration” by La Scena Musicale in 2012, in 2015, his song cycle Confessions (2014) was the recipient of the Violet Archer Prize, while his work Infant Joy (2013) won the Mississauga Festival Choir Competition. In 2020, he participated in the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s “New Generation Composers Workshop.” Massimo’s compositions and arrangements have been performed in Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea, as well as the 2020 Orford New Music Festival; he also has upcoming performances in the United States. Outside of composition, Massimo is interested in music theory and web development; he also works as a copyist, arranger, and educator. He has been the recipient of several academic awards, including a SSHRC CGS Master’s Scholarship for his research on the early music of Italian composer Alfredo Casella, and multiple Ontario Graduate Scholarships for his doctoral research on Giacomo Puccini’s final opera Turandot (1926), which was supervised by Professor Steven Vande Moortele. Learn more on his website.


ELLAMAY MANTIE: Ellamay is a young cellist from Scarborough, ON. She began playing the cello when she was five, and currently studies with Joowon Kim. She has played for many wonderful cellists in masterclasses, such as Joseph Johnson, David Hetherington, Alan Harris and Emmanuel Beaulieu Bergeron. Ellamay has played in youth orchestras for the past five years, the most recent being with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra for their past 2 seasons. This spring, she was selected as an alternate for the 2020 season of NYO Canada, and received the Kiwanis Club of Casa Lima Voltr Ivonoffski Memorial Award. Ellamay has also been involved with many chamber ensembles in addition to chamber playing. She plans on pursuing cello performance in university next year. Learn more about Ellamay on her website, or on her Facebook page


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